Author Topic: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast  (Read 2184 times)

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Offline HikeBikeCook

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Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« on: December 04, 2021, 08:03:07 am »
We have put together a group of riders to ride a modified TransAm route using the Eastern Express and actually ending in Seattle. The original TransAm starts and ends in estuaries, as does the Eastern Express with our ending in Seattle. Some riders want to start and end at the ocean to make it a real "Coast-to-Coast" ride. I have always viewed it as a cross-country ride, but looked up the meaning of coast-to-coast this morning:

Definition of coast-to-coast
1: extending or airing across an entire nation or continent

So, according to Merriam Webster the ocean really has nothing to do with it. Unlike hiking the Appalachian Trail, which is a strictly defined route, riding Trans American, cross-country, etc. are loosely define objectives. What is the general feeling about riding across America - dip a tire in an ocean start and finish or start and finish at the land's end, be it estuary or ocean?
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Offline staehpj1

Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2021, 08:17:18 am »
Your ride, your definition.  Require ocean to ocean with actual tire dip if that suits you.  Just ride from a state on one coast to a state on the other if that suits you.  Do something in between if that is okay by your standards.  Oh and count the Gulf of Mexico as the east coast if you want, I count my ST that ended on the Gulf as coast to coast, sort of.  I might not really consider myself as having really ridden coast  to coast if that were my only coast to coast ride.

FWIW, I consider myself as having driven coast to coast in my car without really having gotten very close at all to the coast on either end.  Not sure why I am inclined to be more generous with the driving trip.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2021, 10:33:52 am »
I agree with Pete.  Your ride, your definition. 

And while an ocean doesn't really technically matter to its definition, the question is where does the nation end, i.e. at the water's edge (high or low tide), the 12?? mile exclusive fishing territory, or ??? ?  Do we have to get to Attu Station, AK or would Tanana, AK, work since it is the furthest west contiguous road in the USA?  Or do we have to start in Puerto Rico and end in Guam. 

I personally like dipping the wheels though I am relaxed as to whether it is high tide or low tide  ;) .  However, I am lazy so only dip if it is easy, i.e. finding a paved boat ramp so I don't have to wade through sand.  If that is not readily available, being on the road close to the ocean is good enough for me as I firmly believe if you get to just the road near the ocean, that is fine, i.e., no dipping required.  I',m just anal about the "entire" way. 

I also don't think you need to go to the furthest point to satisfy the cross country aspect, within reason.  For instance, both the Southern Tier and the TransAm are both cross country trips.  However, looking at a map, the TA was a greater latitude length than the ST but, to me, riding from Fort Lauderdale to Fort Myers, Florida, does not qualify as cross country though I guess technically it does.

I start to question if it is a full cross country ride the further you get away from the coast.  For instance, I personally would not count Washington, DC to Seattle a true FULL cross country trip but just a cross country trip.  Yeah, the definition sucks but it is sort of the same lines as what is a self-contained tour (let's not go there on this thread).

If I were joining you, I would start early and head out of Norfolk/Virginia Beach on the upcoming DELMARVA Route and head out to Chincoteague Island (want to see the horses) in Delaware before taking the ferry over to Ewell/Tangier Island to the Tidewater Potomac to DC to start the Eastern Express.  I would end in the San Juan Islands (probably Victoria, BC, as I love Butchart Gardens).  BUT THAT IS ME!!!  You do what you want since you are the one riding.

Also, does riding from Mexico (or the Gulf of Mexico) to Canada count as a cross country trip?  To me it does, primarily because I have done it 3 times  ;)

There are all kinds of ways to look at this.  My best guess is land border to land border or within 10 miles of such.  That said, I still think Pete's answer is the best overall.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2021, 10:46:33 am »
Do it any Way you want. Dipping wheels is Nothing.

Offline jamawani

Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2021, 11:01:16 am »
As staehpj1 says, do whatever works for you. There are no hard and fast rules.

I tend towards ocean waves to ocean waves.
(And I regret to inform you that I've ridden coast-to-coast way too many times.)
I like to have a sunset over the Pacific and a sunrise over the Atlantic.
For me, it gives me a framing to start the trip and closure at the end.
So many people talk about the last couple of days ot the trip.
Yes, we're often tired, but sad that it is coming to an end

(BTW - I'm not a big fan of the Eastern Express.)

On the Washington, DC end you are on the Potomac River.
It's not even that wide near the Tidal Basin.
You can take the tour boat to Mount Vernon and ride back to DC on the trail.
The Potomac is much wider at Mount Vernon, plus the boat trip links you to the water.

On the Seattle end, you are on Puget Sound.
That's a much bigger water body with lots of water options.
The simplest is to do a round-trip on the Bremerton ferry.
On clear days you can see the Olympic Mtns and Mt Rainier.

Eastern End -

Getting to the ocean from DC isn't easy.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge doesn't allow bicycles.
There is no public transport and the private shuttle is expensive.
Plus, the various route options have heavy traffic.

An alternative is Point Lookout State Park on Chesapeake Bay.
The passenger boat connections via Smith Island are iffy.
And Covid may have put them permanently out of business.
But if your group is willing to pay - it's a great way across the Bay.

Western End -

A semi-ocean option is to take the cruise boat to the San Juan Islands from Seattle.
Or you can ride from the Palouse Trail to Anacortes then take the ferry.
The easiest ocean point from Seattle is out to Aberdeen and Westport
Again, take the Bremerton ferry and back roads to Monsanto and the coast.

A more challenging, but spectacular endpoint is Neah Bay.
This would involve taking the Bainbridge ferry and a bit of tricky riding.
Continue via the Olympic Discovery Trail and Port Angeles to Neah Bay.
Both the Westport and Neah Bay options have bus connections back to Seattle.

Starting on the Atlantic and ending on the Pacific would require a chunk of effort.
Plus, about 3 days additional time each - or a week for both.
Then there's the additional cost - esp. boat/ferry fares and bus connections.
But if you are willing to do the extra work, it is well worth it.


« Last Edit: December 04, 2021, 11:03:24 am by jamawani »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2021, 11:26:06 am »
However, looking at a map, the TA was a greater latitude length than the ST but, to me, riding from Fort Lauderdale to Fort Myers, Florida, does not qualify as cross country though I guess technically it does.
You are kidding on that one, right?  It doesn't even come close to counting as riding across the state in my mind.  I semi seriously stretch to the call the Pacific to the Gulf as being a pathetic sort of a coast to coast.  I guess the Atlantic and Gulf are two coasts too though.  But seriously...

BTW, some of what has been said is mixing cross country and coast to coast.  North to South or vice versa could certainly be the former, but not the latter for the US.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2021, 12:08:55 pm »
However, looking at a map, the TA was a greater latitude length than the ST but, to me, riding from Fort Lauderdale to Fort Myers, Florida, does not qualify as cross country though I guess technically it does.
You are kidding on that one, right?  It doesn't even come close to counting as riding across the state in my mind.  I semi seriously stretch to the call the Pacific to the Gulf as being a pathetic sort of a coast to coast.  I guess the Atlantic and Gulf are two coasts too though.  But seriously...

BTW, some of what has been said is mixing cross country and coast to coast.  North to South or vice versa could certainly be the former, but not the latter for the US.
Semi-joking as I met one guy, in Florida, proudly stating he was riding "coast to coast".  He was serious in his enthusiasm.  I just congratulated him on being out there riding.  As I said above, I do not believe that would be "coast to coast" but must also agree that it meets, with a lot of stretching the intention, the technical definition of crossing coast to coast since you are crossing from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. I also agree that San Diego to say Corpus Christi does not meet the spirit of the phrase but does meet the technical definition.

I further agree that I unintentionally digressed into "cross county" vs "ocean to ocean" due to Merriam's definition.  Sorry.   

Going back to Hike's question, even an estuary to estuary ride would work for me assuming I was close to the end/opening of the estuary.  For instance, his original route (DC to Seattle) is fine as a "coast to coast" as an ocean going ship can get to both points.  But if I had more time, I would try to make it a full coast to coast.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2021, 12:48:27 pm »
Yeah, I have been thinking hard about this one. As an AT thru-hiker I passed every single blaze in a south to north direction in a single season - no short cuts, yellow blazing, blue blazing, etc. When I got to a campsite I always walked past to the farthest northbound entrance to the campsite so I did not accidently skip 100 feet in the morning haze.

This trip is a bit different since the original Trans America ride (and current) are coast-to-coast rides but not ocean-to-ocean rides, so there is no precedent to dip your wheel in the ocean steeming from the original route. I think most people probably wheel dip in the closest salt water they can find if they even bother. Will I have ridden cross-country without dipping a wheel? I think the answer is truly yes. What will I miss not going to the ocean? I have been a "coaster" most of my life (2 years in Texas aside) and lived in the congestion, the traffic, the narrow minded politics, and everything else that goes with an overpopulated area. For me, this trip means getting into the heartland and looking for the America that has died out along the coast. Maybe find a town or two where people don't lock their doors when they leave the house (or even when there are in the house)

I grew up in very rural small town Connecticut and when we went on vacation  (usually in the winter - another story) the house was never locked. The mailman checked to make sure the furnace was running and left our mail on the kitchen table. The day of or day before our return the milkman put 8 quarts of farm fresh raw milk in the fridge. We did not have a lot of money so we shoveled our driveway - but the local plow guy knew we were away and our driveway was plowed the day we returned - no charge - just what neighbors did for each other. - Maybe that is still out there somewhere in America, but if it is it is probably not in the extra 2 or 3 days I will spend riding out to the ocean shoreline - at least not in the east.
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Offline Westinghouse

Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2021, 01:04:27 pm »
I am seriously considering another trans continental bicycle ride beginning sometime in January. It will be across the southern tier of states. They say so far this winter has been unprecedentedly warm. That maybe so but I will prepare for unprecedented cold just the same. I will have to go more than 300 miles north just to begin going west from the East Coast of Florida. I will not dip my wheel anywhere in the east. If I make it to California I will Not dip my wheel anywhere there. If I do I will get down to the wharf in San Diego and that is far enough near the gaslight district. That is a full transcontinental bicycling ride. Dip or no dip.

Offline jamawani

Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2021, 01:54:53 pm »
HBC -

Here in small-town Wyoming you still leave your house unlocked and the car keys in the ashtray.
And you can come home and find a sack of fresh tomatoes on your kitchen counter.

About ten years ago, I had a grad student summer intern at the clinic stay at my house while I rode X-USA.
Her boyfriend, 300 miles away at the university, had their only car.
So I told her, "Why not just use my truck while I'm gone?"

Whenever I'd call friends in town, they'd ask, "Who's that driving your truck?"
Such is small-town life. But then again, they know all your secrets, too.

Offline jamawani

Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2021, 02:16:24 pm »
PS -

About the coasts and all that development.
25 years ago the Delmarva peninsula used to be a backwater except for a few beach towns.
And even those were deserted after Labor Day.
Now, there is massive development with condos and golf courses, etc., etc.
And much of the inland areas are devoted to massive chicken farms - -
so that folks in Philly and Boston can have their McNuggets.

But there are still one or two places that preserve the slower pace.
One of those is Pocomoke City - not close enough to the water.
Except for the Pocomoke River - which is a sublime tidewater river.
A biracial town reflecting the biracial history of the peninsula since colonial days.

You can camp on the river at Pocomoke River S.P. 
Milburn Landing on the west side is better for cyclists.
And you can rent kayaks and get out on the river - either at the park or in town.

(Regrettably, the new Delmarva route does not go via Pocomoke City or the Pocomoke River.)

Similarly, on the west coast there are places between Seattle/Portland and the coast.
Many of these smaller towns have been hard hit be the near-complete shutdown of logging.
The logging is gone, the mills are closed, and the towns are hard-edged and hurting.
Grandparents made more in the 1970s than their grandkids today.
Not surprisingly, there are lots of alcohol and drug problems - opiates, meth.

Cathlamet, on the Columbia River halfway between Portland and Astoria, is so beautiful.
That's where the last ferry crossing is on the Lower Columbia - a favorite of cyclists.
There's acutally a paper mill on the Oregon side at Wauna.
They worked 24/7  - three shifts - last year to produce toilet paper.
Plus there's a smidgen of development - and a marina with expensive boats from Portland.

You can camp at a narrow park at the marina or stay at the historic Cathlamet Hotel.
Better yet, you can ride thru the Colimbia Whitetailed Deer Refuge right along the river.
And stay at Skamokawa Park with spectacular vistas of the river and bluffs.

<<<>>>

So, those places do still exist - hard hit by Amazon, WalMart, and Covid.
But if you look hard enough, they are still there.

Offline TCS

Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2021, 04:03:35 pm »
I've offered here a couple of routes from the ST to the pier in Corpus Christi, and suggested the Underground Railroad route as an American coast-to-coast  (Lake Erie/Gulf of Mexico).  I had no idea how offensive that was to some here!

I semi seriously stretch to the call the Pacific to the Gulf as being a pathetic sort of a coast to coast.

Do you snort in disgust when someone says they've cycletoured this?:

https://www.sustrans.org.uk/find-other-routes/c2c-or-sea-to-sea

I guess Tuktoyaktuk to Boca Chica would be unimpressive, too, Boca Chica being on the Gulf.   :P  Perhaps an Atlantic<->Pacific crossing of North America is a pathetic sort of coast to coast and only North Cape to Cape Town or Cabo da Roca to Cape Dezhnev is a "real" coast-to-coast to a "real" cycletourist.    ::)

OP - Hey, you're riding across the USA.  Great!  That's wonderful!  Wishing you much joy on your ride.  The only distinction I'd make is you're riding trans-America and not the TransAmerican Trail, the same way I've suggested to other posters they were riding across America on US90 and I-10 and not riding the Southern Tier.  The TransAmerican Trail and Southern Tier are defined routes on copyrighted maps by our host here on this forum, Adventure Cycling.
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Offline TCS

Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2021, 04:28:13 pm »
Oh - BTW - my largest dictionary requires a 'tour' to end where it started.  Not even the most pedantic cycletourists I've known make that a requirement for a bike ride to be called a 'tour'.   :D
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Offline staehpj1

Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2021, 04:54:44 pm »
FWIW, I took the whole thing a lot more seriously when I did the Trans America.  Did wheel dips and all.  We even went back and rode to the ocean later rather than rely on just the Yorktown ending.

After that I really don't care too much about if a trip is truely coast to coast or not.  I guess it is kind of moot now that I feel like it is something that has been checked off of the list.  I didn't even bother to finish the ST when I went to Tallahassee for family reasons from Pensacola.  It would have been easy enough to go back and finish those last 400 miles a week or 10 days later.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Is a TransAm Ride Coast-to-Coast
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2021, 04:59:49 am »
Oh - BTW - my largest dictionary requires a 'tour' to end where it started.  Not even the most pedantic cycletourists I've known make that a requirement for a bike ride to be called a 'tour'.   :D

I am pretty sure I am returning home to where my adventure (Tour) is starting just as I left, by car.  :D

Of course, the locks may have been changed by then.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966